Episode 23

Published on:

2nd Sep 2022

023: Benjamin Wanzo - Creating Social Impact for Underserved Communities & Black and Brown Entrepreneurs

Benjamin Wanzo is one of the Co-Founders and Partners of ESO Ventures, a social impact organization created to help black and brown entrepreneurs build competence, increase confidence, and access capital in an environment that isn’t always supportive.

Today, Ben joins the show to share the origin story of ESO Ventures, the various types of businesses they support and the importance of entrepreneurs having access to capital.

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Key Takeaways

00:58 – Jonathan introduces today’s guest, Benjamin Wanzo, who joins the show to share his passion for entrepreneurship and how he met his fellow co-founders of ESO Ventures, Alfredo and Martha

07:27 – Ben reflects on early money lessons he learned

10:43 – The origin story of ESO Ventures

14:17 – Four cohorts and Ben’s role at ESO Ventures

17:49 – The different types of businesses that ESO Ventures supports

19:29 – An action-oriented approach

22:09 – How Ben spreads his consulting talents across numerous companies

26:17 – Customer Acquisition, Operations, and Access to Capital

31:53 – Overcoming the hesitancy to take on debt to access capital

35:14 – Ben provides one entrepreneurial practice to implement and one to avoid

40:55 – The last thing Ben changed his mind about and one thing that he would like people to know about him

44:27 – Jonathan thanks Ben for joining the show and let’s listeners know where to connect with him and learn more about ESO Ventures

Tweetable Quotes

“The dream always was to become an entrepreneur. So, after I left McKinsey I became an entrepreneur and created a company called TeachBar, which was a classroom and a cafe all in one space, really to attract students to be in a learning environment and want to stay in that learning environment.” (04:07)

“My football coach used to always say to me, ‘Control your own destiny.’ Of course he was talking about just winning games so we can go to the playoffs, but that message rooted in me as well. Who really controls their own destiny? Typically, if you have the right product-market fit, it’s the entrepreneur.” (08:37)

“The entrepreneurs we want to serve are black and brown underinvested communities. And it’s gonna require a huge investment for them to start their businesses. So, we want to make sure that when they started their business that they weren’t making a huge investment upfront in us.” (12:25)

“Entrepreneurship is a lonely space. You do it. You try it. And, if you’re not around anyone else who’s doing it, you feel like the world is on your shoulders and, if you make one mistake, it’s game over. But, what you don’t realize is there’s fifteen other people who are in that same boat with you. And if you guys can encourage or share your victories or even your losses, it just shows that this is commonplace. This milestone that I did not reach, this failure that I had, is commonplace in entrepreneurship and I just need to keep pushing forward.” (15:46)

“Our primary goal is to stay action-oriented, and all of our competence-based training is pushing entrepreneurs towards action.” (19:46)

“When we started this, we had the confidence and the competence in the incubator. But we quickly realized if we don’t provide access to capital, we’re essentially creating ‘Dreamers.’ And we wouldn’t make impact in our communities because they’re gonna have a great business plan, they’re gonna know how to execute it, but they’re not gonna have money.” (29:16)

“Comparison is the thief of joy, but that’s what social media platforms often have people do is comparing themselves to what they see. So I just encourage folks - especially young folks and especially entrepreneurs - to get off social media for a while.” (39:28)

Guest Resources

Ben’s LinkedIn:

Ben’s Email:

ESO Ventures:

ESO Ventures LinkedIn:

EDO Ventures Facebook:

EDO Ventures Instagram:

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Mindful Money
Do you struggle with money? You’re not alone.
Money is a means, not an end. It’s a necessity of life for sure, but more money does not always guarantee a “good life”. Money enables many aspects of modern life, but as a dominant consideration it becomes destructive. 
The paradox is that more time and energy spent on personal finance does NOT create better outcomes. Unlike many other parts of life, we can’t create better outcomes by being smarter, spending more time, or putting in more effort.
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Jonathan DeYoe

Jonathan DeYoe is a best-selling author, speaker, financial advisor and angel investor. He is a husband, father and a practicing Buddhist. His simple underlying message brings a welcomed sense of order to financial chaos and restores a calm center to your financial life.